Funding competition Faraday Battery Challenge: innovation R&D, round 3

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £23 million for R&D projects focused on de-risking the scale up of battery development technology. This funding comes from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

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Competition sections

Description

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is to invest up to £25 million in innovation projects. This competition is the third round of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Faraday Battery Challenge: Innovation. Its goal is to support business led research and development in the design and development of batteries for electric vehicles. Projects must emphasise:

  • making it easier to scale up
  • building supply chains in the UK

The funding is split into 2 competitions running in parallel. In this competition we expect to invest up to £23 million in industrial research and experimental development projects. In the other competition we expect to fund up to £2 million in feasibility studies.

Projects must focus on the technical or commercial challenges in battery innovation, development and manufacture through UK supply chains.

All projects must be a collaboration between at least 2 partners. A business or research and technology organisation (RTO) must lead the project.

If your project’s total costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.gov.uk at least 10 days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

Funding type

Grant

Project size

Your total project costs can be between £500,000 and £15 million. Your project can last between 3 and 18 months. It must start by 1 September 2019 and end by 31 March 2021.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding you must:

  • be a UK based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • work in collaboration with other businesses, research organisations or third-sector organisations
  • make every effort to attend the cohort events, which will bring together project participants from across the Faraday Battery Challenge to share knowledge and help maximise the outcomes of the initiative

The lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding.

To lead a project you must:

  • be a UK based business, of any size, or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • involve at least one other organisation, or at least 2 businesses if the lead is an RTO

We encourage you to include a partner with expertise in the scaling of battery technologies, for example UKBIC for cell manufacture.

A UK business must be eligible to receive state aid. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information please see our general guidance.

Multiple applications

An RTO can lead on one application and collaborate in a further 2 applications. If an RTO is not the lead they can collaborate in any number of applications.

An academic institution cannot lead on an application but can be a collaborator in any number of applications.

These rules do not apply for businesses.

Partners with no funding

Projects can include partners that do not receive any funding (for example, non-UK businesses). Their costs will count towards the total project costs but they will not count as collaborators.

Failure to exploit

If you applied to a previous competition as the lead or sole company and were awarded funding by Innovate UK, but did not make a substantial effort to exploit that award, we will award no more funding to you, in this or any other competition. You will not be able to contest our decision. We will:

  • assess your efforts in the previous competition against your exploitation plan for that project
  • review the monitoring officers’ reports and any other relevant sources for evidence
  • document our decision, which will be made by 3 team members
  • communicate our decision to you in writing

Previous projects

Under the terms of Innovate UK funding, you are required to submit an independent accountant’s report (IAR) with your final claim. If you or any organisation in your consortium failed to submit an IAR on a previous project, we will not award funding to you in this or any other competition until the documents have been received.

Funding

We have allocated up to £23 million to fund industrial research and experimental development projects in this competition.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

Find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME.

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

This competition provides state aid funding under the General Block Exemption Regulation. It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to support business led R&D in the design and development of batteries for electric vehicles. Projects must emphasise:

  • making it easier to scale up
  • building supply chains in the UK

Your project must improve the scalability and manufacturability of batteries for automotive in some way. It can involve development for other sectors, such as rail, marine, aerospace, defence or other applications, as long as an element of the technology could also be applied to automotive.

Your project can focus on technological improvements or developing new business models. We encourage projects that bring new investment and new businesses into the sector in the UK.

Your project must:

  • de-risk scaling up innovative technologies across the battery value chain (including cell materials and components, cells, modules and packs, but not vehicle integration) and/or
  • remove the technical or commercial barriers to cell manufacture in the UK
  • support the overall goal of the Faraday Battery Challenge

The goal of the Challenge is for the UK to become a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles. Successful projects will increase productivity, competitiveness and growth for UK businesses.

You must develop the understanding and processes needed to scale your technology following the end of the project. We are looking to support projects that address technical and commercial challenges, including:

  • cost reduction: at the cell and pack level, as well as minimising manufacturing costs
  • energy density: increasing Wh/kg per cell
  • power density: increasing kW/kg per pack
  • safety: eliminate thermal runaway risks for enhanced safety
  • first life: lengthen cell and pack life
  • temperature: broaden the temperature ranges that a pack efficiently operates at
  • predictability: new models to better predict range and battery health
  • recyclability: towards 95% pack recyclability, such as by design, reuse or recycling

Your proposal must demonstrate how your project will improve the manufacturing readiness level (MRL) of your technology. Your project can either focus directly on improving the MRL, or it can create manufacturing processes or supply chain enhancements that will lead to an improved MRL. You can do this by developing:

  • more flexible and efficient processes
  • processes that enable faster and greater customisation of the product to satisfy customer demands
  • materials that make manufacture easier

Your project must:

  • consider end of life implications
  • have a clear route to scale up your technology beyond a prototype or demonstrator following the conclusion of the project
  • plan to have real-world applications and meet the appropriate sector’s performance and regulatory targets
  • show a thorough understanding of the system your technology will fit into

Innovate UK reserves the right to apply a portfolio approach within this competition. The portfolio will be spread across a range of scope areas, research categories, project durations and project costs, and will be spread between this and the feasibility studies competition. This is to fit the spend profile of this competition.

Specific themes

Your project could focus on:

  • chemicals or cell components
  • ‘niche’ vehicles, such as high-performance or off-highway
  • building on the work done in successful Faraday Battery Challenge feasibility studies

Project types

We will fund industrial research projects and experimental development projects. We are running another competition in parallel to fund feasibility studies. Please see the general guidance to help you decide which category your project fits in.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects focused on:

  • high technology readiness levels (TRLs) with total project costs more than £5 million focusing on modules or packs, as these could be funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre
  • vehicle integration
  • low TRLs as these can be funded by the Faraday Institution or through other routes designed for fundamental research
  • mid TRL projects which do not consider how the technology will be scaled up beyond demonstrator or prototype level
  • funding for capital equipment which could be accessed through other means

17 September 2018
Competition opens
19 September 2018
London briefing event. Watch the recording
25 September 2018
Cardiff briefing event
26 September 2018
Sunderland briefing event
12 December 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
22 February 2019
Applicants notified

Before you start

Please read the general guidance for applicants. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

When you start an application you will be prompted to create an account as the lead applicant or sign in as a representative of your organisation. You will need an account to track the progress of your application.

As the lead applicant you will be responsible for:

  • collecting the information for your application
  • representing your organisation in leading the project if your application is successful

You will be able to invite:

  • colleagues to contribute to the application
  • other organisations to collaborate in the application (and in the project if your application is successful)

Collaborating organisations can be other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities.

Interviews

If your application is successful at the written stage you will be invited to attend an interview, where you will need to give a presentation.

Your presentation must use Microsoft PowerPoint and be a maximum of 30 minutes long, with no more than 30 slides. Please do not include any video or embedded web links. This will be followed by 40 minutes of questions and answers, with the potential for an additional 10 minute interview following 10 minutes closed discussion by the assessors.

You must submit your presentation slides to Innovate UK by the date stated in the email we will send inviting you to an interview. You will not be able to make any changes to the presentation after this date. You will also be required to submit a draft collaboration agreement at this stage.

Up to 9 people from your project can attend the interview panel. Agree with your consortium who will attend, ideally one person from each organisation, and send us their names by the date stated in the invitation email. Make sure they will be available on all of the published interview dates. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

You will be expected to answer questions based on your application form and the assessor feedback from the written stage.

You will have the opportunity to provide a supplementary written response to the assessor feedback, answering any concerns raised by the assessors. This can be up to 10 A4 pages in a single PDF or Word document. It can include charts or diagrams. This must be submitted to Innovate UK by the date stated in the invitation email.

What we will ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Application details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

1. Application details

Explain your project. This section is not scored, but we will use it to decide whether the project fits with the scope of the competition. If it does not, it will be immediately rejected.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration. Is the application a resubmission?

Project summary

Describe your project briefly, and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application. List any organisations you have named as collaborators. Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail, and in a way that you are happy to see published. Please do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project. Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be eligible for funding. Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

Your answers to these questions will be scored by the assessors. You will receive feedback from the assessors for each question.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers unless we have explicitly requested a link to a video.

Question 1. Need or challenge

What is the business need, supply chain or technological challenge, and market opportunity behind your innovation? You should answer in the context of global opportunity for future battery development and manufacture for electric vehicles.

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, supply chain or technological challenge, and market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development (both within and outside the UK), and its limitations
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project is focused on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, environmental, cultural and/or political challenges and global challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations. Our Horizons tool can help with this

Question 2. Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the technical innovation, business model innovation or supply chain development be?

Describe or explain:

  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • whether the innovation will focus on the application of existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • explain the technology readiness level (TRL) and/or manufacturing readiness level (MRL) at the start of the project and the expected TRL and/or MRL at the end
  • expected progress towards and/or beyond the 2025 targets on the Automotive Council Electrical Energy Storage Roadmap as appropriate
  • the route to scale your technology within and beyond the project
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make your consortium and the UK more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example, report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

You can submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 10MB and up to 2 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 3. Team and resources

Who is in the project team and what are their roles?

Describe or explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • how your consortium is suited to de-risking the scale up of your technology
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
  • the details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any gaps in the team that will need to be filled

You can submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 10MB and up to 4 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 4. Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like? We understand the global strategic case for electric vehicles and batteries, so this answer should focus on your consortium’s attainable market.

Describe or explain:

  • the market segments (domestic, international or both) you will be targeting in the project and any other potential markets
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed
  • the route to market after the project

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the route to market could or might be
  • what the market’s size might to be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 5. Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase your productivity into the long term as a result of the project?

Describe or explain:

  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example, why they would use or buy your product
  • your route to market
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation, including increased revenues or cost reduction
  • how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Question 6. Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe, and where possible measure:

  • the economic benefits from the project to external parties, including customers, others in the supply chain, broader industry and the UK economy, such as productivity increases, reshoring of manufacturing and import substitution. Be specific to your consortium rather than referring to generic global opportunities for electric vehicle battery production
  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

Describe, and where possible measure, any expected impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:

  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education and skills development related to battery technologies
  • wider supply chain development outside the project itself
  • the environment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity

Question 7. Project management

How will you manage the project effectively?

Describe or explain:

  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the relevant research category, the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms that will be used for a successful and innovative project outcome.
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

You can upload a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 10MB and up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8. Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

Describe or explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register if appropriate
  • how these risks will be mitigated
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how will you manage this?

You can upload a risk register as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 10MB and up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9. Added value

What impact would an injection of public funding have on the businesses involved?

Describe or explain:

  • if this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make, such as faster to market, more partners and reduced risk
  • the likely impact of the project on the businesses of the partners involved
  • why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of private-sector funding, and what would happen if the application is unsuccessful
  • how this project would change the nature of R&D activity the partners would undertake, and the related spend

Question 10. Costs and value for money

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?

Describe or explain:

  • the total project cost and the grant being requested in terms of the project goals
  • clear justification for costs related to capital equipment
  • how the partners will finance their contributions to the project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any sub-contractor costs and why they are critical to the project

3. Finances

The finances section asks each organisation in your project to complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. Academics will need to complete and upload a Je-S form. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

The Faraday Battery Challenge was launched in July 2017 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The ISCF provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers. The fund is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the government’s Industrial Strategy.

The fund is being administered by Innovate UK and the Research Councils.

The Faraday Battery Challenge is an investment of £246 million over 4 years. It was set up to help UK businesses seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon economy. It aims to ensure the UK leads the world in the design, development and manufacture of batteries for the electrification of vehicles.

Batteries for future electrified vehicles are recognised as a major global opportunity for the UK.

Around 50% of the value of future vehicles will be related to the battery and its supporting systems. Future investment decisions around battery development and their manufacture in the UK will likely influence significant wider investment decisions by original equipment manufacturers, including vehicle production. The complete supply chain for batteries at scale for the automotive sector does not yet fully exist, representing an opportunity for the UK.

The UK manufactures over 2 million engines a year, employing large numbers of highly skilled workers. It is widely thought that the number of internal combustion engines will reduce over time as the automotive sector moves towards electrified vehicles.

The UK now has the ‘ecosystem’ needed to place itself as a leader in future battery research, innovation and high volume manufacturing for the global automotive market.

The Faraday Battery Challenge is supporting battery research from fundamental research through development and innovation to industrial scale up. It does this through 3 pieces of funding, known as ‘elements’:

  1. £78 million for a new ‘application-inspired’ research programme co-ordinated at a national scale. This is being led by the Faraday Institution.
  2. £88 million innovation programme to stimulate collaborative research and development with co-investment from industry. This will de-risk and enable the steps to get from research through to manufacturing at scale.
  3. £80 million scale up programme to allow companies of all sizes to rapidly move new battery technologies to market through the creation of an open-access facility, the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre.

Innovate UK is required to conduct impact evaluation of activities across all funded projects. This is for accountability purposes and to inform future programme design. Project participants will be required to provide data on their organisation and grant-funded activities throughout the duration of the funded project and afterwards. Details will be provided when you receive your grant offer letter if you are successful.

Extra help

If you want help to find a project collaborator, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at support@innovateuk.gov.uk.

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